By Bruce A. Fasol
Today begins the annual Old King Coal Festival, in West Frankfort. And, this year’s festival marks a milestone.
Founder/Director Steve Sawalich recently pointed out that this is the 10th anniversary of the festival being resurrected. The festival had been dormant for a number of years prior to Sawalich and an army of dedicated volunteers brought it back a decade ago. As always, the festival revolves around the heritage of the coal mining industry, in our region. To highlight that history, a major coal rally is being planned for Saturday afternoon. Old King Coal himself, and the pageant winners have already been named and will reign over this year’s activities. Look for them in Saturday morning’s huge 11 a.m. parade.
The carnival midway is slated to open this afternoon at 5 p.m. All rides this afternoon will be just one ticket per ride. Tickets are available throughout the midway. The Main Stage is located east of City Hall, in their normal parking area. There will be different featured music each evening of the Old King Coal Festival. Tonight, Steve Gosney-featuring Dave Clark, and Jackson Junction will provide the music. And, as always there will be room to dance in front of the stage. Music on the Main Stage gets underway at 6 p.m.
Every type of traditional “fair food” can be found across the midway as well. And, organizers hint there may be a few surprises as well. Traditionally, there is a fundraiser found in the Wit and Wisdom building adjacent to the midway, with food. Souvenirs, informative booths, and more fill out the multi-block area each afternoon and evening of the Festival.
2012 OLD KING COAL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Sunday, Sept. 9
2:00pm ……..Princess Flame Pageant and Crowning of Old King Coal
Paschedag Auditorium, West Frankfort High School
Thursday, Sept. 13
5:00pm…Luehrs’ Ideal Rides… Midway Opens. FAMILY NIGHT, ALL RIDES TAKE ONE(1) TICKET.
6:00pm to close……Steve Gosney featuring Dave Clark and Jackson Junction
Friday Sept. 14
10:00am to 4:00pm…Job & College Fair…Firehouse Event Center
5:00pm…Luehrs’ Ideal Rides.. Midway Opens
7:00pm to close….Lew Jetton and 61 South…Main Stage
Saturday, Sept. 15
10:00am…..Coal Miners Memorial Service to be at Miners Memorial Downtown
11:00am……BoyScout Troop #48 Flag Retirement Ceremony
1:00pm…..Old King Coal Festival Parade and McDonald’s Kids Parade
1:00pm…Luehrs’ Ideal Rides.. Midway Opens
3:00pm…COAL RALLY with STELLA PARTON AND dignitaries…Main Stage
6:00pm…..Egyptian Combo……Main Stage
9:00pm to close…..Brat Pack……Main Stage
Sunday, Sept. 16
1:00pm…Luehrs Ideal Rides..Midway Opens. FAMILY DAY. ALL RIDES TAKE ONE TICKET
1:00pm…….Sloans Gymnastics……..Main Stage Area
2:00pm to close…..Old King Coal Talent Contest with Tom Wallace
(Contestants compete for $200 Grand Prize)
2:00pm…..1st Annual West Frankfort Fire Dept. Water Fight Contests….on Emma St. by Fire Station